Ex-Suffolk County police chief indicted on federal civil rights, conspiracy charges

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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A former Long Island police chief has been arrested by FBI agents on civil rights and conspiracy charges, according to a two-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

James Burke, who led the Suffolk County Police Department until his resignation in October, was arrested Wednesday morning at his home. He resigned two months ago amid reports that he was the target of a renewed federal investigation.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone confirmed in October that Burke's departure was related to the probe.

Burke was investigated by the FBI in 2013 on suspicion that he may have abused a man suspected of stealing his gun belt, ammunition and handcuffs from his department-issued vehicle.

The indictment alleges that Burke assaulted that suspect and thereby violated his civil rights, and accuses the former law enforcement leader of conspiracy to obstruct a federal civil rights investigation into that assault.

Television cameras showed Burke being led in handcuffs into an FBI office.

A message left with Burke's attorney was not immediately returned.